Darren Manning Road America column

Road America is a great track, just as everyone told me to expect. It's good and long, like a lot of the European grand prix tracks, with some fast corners you can get your teeth into

Darren Manning Road America column

The whole weekend was up and down for us - the results showed that. We were miles off the pace in the first practices and I wasn't happy with the set-up. But we worked it out and qualified sixth on the first day. On the second day we got up to third in the morning practice and the car was getting better and better, but I ended up going off during qualifying so we dropped back to 14th. On my third flyer in my first outing I locked the rears slightly going into Turn 5 on a downshift. The tyres weren't up to temperature, I lost it and went into the gravel. If I hadn't gone off, we could have been starting anywhere from fifth to third on the grid.

The start was delayed, and when we eventually got going I had a problem halfway round the first green-flag lap. At Turn 8 there were three cars all tangled up and slowing down; I had to take to the inside kerb. I just touched them, damaging the nose, but I was really an innocent bystander and got away very cleanly.

We did a great job in the wet. We had to change the nose and that cost us a little pace because the spare wing didn't produce as much front-end grip. The guys did a fantastic job in the pit-stops and we moved up from seventh to fourth during the last stop.

In the last few laps I was just pacing myself to try to maintain a gap to Max Papis and to save my tyres, but going into Turn 1 with two laps to go I lost third gear. Max got past right away and I managed to hold off Patrick Carpentier up to the final corner, but he outdragged me to the line and knocked me down into sixth.

Not as good as it could have been, but we took some points and moved to eighth in the standings. Next is Mid-Ohio, where we've had a chance to test and I have a chance of a podium spot.

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